My stomach knotted up into a tight little ball and I felt sick. It’s okay, I said to myself. You’re just being paranoid. Wait and see.
But two days later, I still had that same feeling, and it was growing stronger. I had been down this road before. I know what it feels like. It feels like nausea, and tender breasts, and having my life reset back to exhaustion, sleepless nights, and toddler chasing. It feels like putting all my plans and dreams on hold for another three years. At least.
It feels like embarrassment and fear. How will we tell people? We know what they’ll say. They’ll shake their heads and ask us how we’ll manage. They’ll ask us, half joking, if we know what causes this. And we’ll have to smile and pretend like everything is fine, like our own lives haven’t just been turned upside down. Like we aren’t freaking out inside.
I took the test on the first day of my next period. Yay, I got my period! Crap, it doesn’t look right. The test is positive. We are definitely about to have a baby number six.
But now that I know for sure, I’m thrown out of denial. This is it. Here we are. There’s no going back, no reversing this. There’s nothing to do but accept it.
Thank God for friends who pray. I told my small group that I was freaking out about something. I was vague. I’m never vague — I always blurt things out. But this was too big, too hard, too earth-shattering and too soon to share just yet. I was too fragile. I was going to break apart into a million pieces of anger and frustration. I just needed them to pray for me and pray hard. That was all I could say.
And they did. And I, wonder of wonders, began to find peace.
Oh, I was still terrified. I had a list of worries — needs that we couldn’t pay for; managing other peoples’ reactions; learning to accept that the reset button had been pushed against my will by a fluke of fate.
But anxiety has a way of receding as the truth comes to the forefront. I remembered that unexpected does not equal unwanted. That I am not the centre of the universe. This baby has a purpose, too. Our last child has been an absolute delight and joy. In fact, every one of them has been — I just happen to remember the last one’s baby stages more because they’re more recent. And she was freakin’ adorable. We’re about to have more joy poured into our lives.
I remembered that God knows everything in advance, and He has a plan. He’s got my back, and I’m not in this alone. What we need, He will provide when we need it. Not before, but just in time. Just like He’s done a million times in the past. Carseat? No problem. Clothes? Got ya covered, girl. Bigger van? Maybe, but what’s wrong with driving two cars when you go to church? Good point, God. I shouldn’t get greedy.
I remembered that it’s not my job to manage other peoples’ reactions. They’re allowed to think whatever they want. But I’ll wait until I’m strong enough and sure enough again before I’ll deal with them.
And darn it, I’ve remembered to pray. I’m praying bigger and harder and with more faith. I’m praying out of desperation and gratitude, with eyes reopened. I’m praying with the bigger picture in mind again, and I needed that. I needed my reset button hit.
I was filling up my life with busyness and goals and my own desires and packing them in tight. I was too busy to hang out with my friends as much as I wanted. I was too busy to call a friend on the phone just to chat. My life was full of homeschooling, painting, achieving, reaching. My brain was full with all the things I wanted to accomplish. My thoughts were full of my goals, my dreams, my, me, me.
And I’ve had to let everything fall away. I’ve chosen to do that. It’s my way of surviving having my life turned upside down, with my sanity and faith still intact. It’s my way of reorienting my thoughts so that now upside down is right side up. I’m letting go of all my expectations.
And darn it, we rock at babies. After five kids, we’re pros. We’ll rock this baby, too.
Let someone else do my worrying for me. (Better yet, let all of us just quit worrying.) I’m leaving it behind. I’m focusing on one thing at a time. And right now, all I need to do is relax on the deck with my kids, knit cute woolen baby soakers because hello adorableness, and take some deep breaths in the sunshine. The rest can wait until tomorrow.
What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? How do you cope? What truths do you remember?